Meet Marg Patterson
Marg Patterson admits that she didn’t know much about dementia before her husband was diagnosed.
“I had no personal contact, and knew little about it,” she said. “Until Sam became diagnosed – then it was time to find out everything I could.”
Her first stop was the Alzheimer Society of Oxford.
“The day after his diagnosis I was on the phone,” she said. “I had a visit within a week.”
It was important for Patterson, 78, to find accurate information. She didn’t want to hear tips or find out what to expect from second and third-hand accounts.
“I wanted to go right to the source. Everyone who has been involved with us has been exceptionally kind and informative.”
Patterson wanted resources, and that’s exactly what she got.
“They provided all kinds of reading material, books, conversation, (and) information in what to expect down the road,” Patterson said.
That was almost five years ago.
Since then Patterson and her husband have benefitted from all kinds of programs and services. When the numbers were too low to form a support group in Tillsonburg, Alzheimer Society employees came to visit with Marg one-on-one.
Her husband greatly enjoyed his Friday morning outings with a volunteer companion volunteer.
Patterson couldn’t believe that her family was getting so much support and guidance from the Alzheimer Society– and all for free.
“I was on the receiving end of everything and nobody was holding their hand out for the bill,” she said. “It was there and it was wonderful. Knowing that they were there if things started to go sideways was really wonderful.”
About a year after her husband’s diagnosis, Patterson got involved with the Walk for Alzheimer’s. The event touched her heart from the moment she walked in.
“The first year I was in tears. It was very emotional. I just felt a little bit overwhelmed, I guess, at the enormity of this whole program and the reasons for it. It just hits you how many people are suffering from this,” she said.
Patterson has since become the top fundraiser, raising the most money of any participant in 2016.
“It’s a lot (of money) when you look at it in one way, but yet it’s a drop in the bucket when you think of the needs that are out there. But we keep on trucking.”
She wants to encourage anyone with dementia – or concerns about their memory – to reach out to the Alzheimer Society, without delay.
“It truly is tough to reach out,” Patterson said.
“I think it is becoming a little bit more acceptable, people aren’t as shy about coming forward and asking for help and saying ‘Yes, I have Alzheimer’s.’”
Marg Patterson is 78 years old and lives in Tillsonburg. Marg has raised over $5000 through the Walk for Alzheimer's.